Exclusive Interview: Cassadee Pope on her solo career and the future of Hey Monday
With HEY MONDAY now on a hiatus and steadfastly silent since that announcement in late 2011, frontwoman CASSADEE POPE isn’t sitting idly by waiting for the band to reconvene. Instead, she’s planning her solo career, with an impending tour as well as new recordings in the works. Altpress.com caught up with Pope from Los Angeles for a quick chat on her 2012 plans.
Interview: Bryne Yancey
So you’re going on a solo tour pretty soon. Is this your first ever tour of this kind?
Yes, I can’t wait. Yeah, it’s my first tour alone. I didn’t ever tour before Hey Monday either, so yeah, it’s my first by myself.
And you’re excited?
I can’t wait, yeah. I just met the guitar player I’m taking out who’s playing with me and he’s awesome. The people I’m bringing with me are just musicians that have had a lot of experience and are into playing music and touring, so it’s going to be a really fun time. The band Darling Parade, I’ve actually never met them, seem really excited, too. And Stephen Jerzak and everyone involved are excited. It’s just going to be acoustic. I’m going to have a guitar player, an acoustic bassist who’s also going to play guitar sometimes, I’m going to be playing guitar and a percussionist, so it’s just going to be really intimate. Sort of like a storytellers type thing where I’m going to be interacting with the crowd a lot and [with] no production, no in-ear monitors or anything; just really raw.
How was the response to the holiday EP?
It’s great. We haven’t really gotten anything back from it yet like how many we sold, but the reaction was incredible. I think everyone was pretty stoked on our cover of “O Holy Night,” so that was pretty cool. It was a really last minute thing. We basically put together everything, like where we were going to record it and who we were going to record it with, in probably three weeks. But we’d had a few songs in our back pockets for a while, so it came together really quickly. It was just really fun. It was basically the last thing we all got to do together and it was kind of emotional at the end, but we had a good time.
Are you planning any sort of solo recordings?
Yeah, definitely. I actually have a ton of demos and a lot of Garageband recordings that I don’t want to show anyone. I love the songs and I hear a lot of potential, but I don’t want to release them as-is. I would love to record an album and release that. Whatever I release, I want it to be completely finished and I want it to be the debut breakout album. I don’t want to just release a few EPs and everything like that. I want it to be a big thing. I definitely hope it’s this year. That would be the best-case scenario, but the reality of it is I can’t really give an exact answer.
The setlist on this tour is going to be a mix of solo stuff and Hey Monday stuff, is that correct?
Yeah, it’s going to be about five Hey Monday songs and five of my own. I have a feeling since it’s going to be such small venues and I can pretty much hear what everyone’s going to say, I feel like there is going to be a lot of requests and I’m just going to try and play it by ear and play whatever the kids really want to hear and whatever the fans ask for. It could end up playing 15 songs or 11; I’m not sure. It’s going to be a majority of Hey Monday songs because that’s what they know.
Have you thought about doing any cover songs, either on the tour or on a new record?
Yeah, there is a cover song that I am really excited about. I am told not to give it away yet, but that one is going to be cool. I’m kind of just thinking of random songs. I’ve always wanted to cover “Hopelessly Devoted To You” by Olivia Newton-John. It’s kind of a really corny song, but I just love the melody. With Hey Monday, it wasn’t so loose. Basically every tour was us playing second with a 30-minute set and I didn’t waste it on a song that none of the kids are going to know. I want to cover “Only One” [by Yellowcard] in L.A. and have Ryan [Key] come out and sing with me. I’m hoping to have someone from another band come out and do a guest appearance thing, so that would be cool, too.
Hey Monday is currently taking a break and I know you’ve got the solo thing coming up, but I’m sure people want to know what the plans are, or if there are any plans. What you think is going to happen to Hey Monday in the future?
I don’t want to completely shut everyone down and say that there is nothing that is ever going to happen with Hey Monday again. We said we were going on a hiatus for a reason. We didn’t want to say Hey Monday is breaking up and then a year or so from now release something and everyone’s going to say “Oh, they tried to do the whole thing where they do a reunion” and we just didn’t want to make it that dramatic. We could do something in a year or two. We didn’t really decide or have a plan for that. I know I’m in the beginning stages of my solo stuff, so I don’t plan on taking my focus off of that for at least a year. I’m going full-force and all into that. I know the guys are doing songwriting and working on becoming producers and stuff like that. Realistically, I wouldn’t say anything is going to happen with Hey Monday for at least a year, just to be safe. alt